Tips on customizing your new simPODD

You’ve downloaded simPODD and selected a page set! When you open the app, you see a variety of things you can say with your son or daughter. You are well on your way to supporting your son or daughter to communicate more!

Set priorities

Think about the things that are the most important to your son or daughter. It might be their favorite people, places, foods, music, or actors/characters from popular culture. Go ahead and add a few of these things. This will help your son or daughter see how simPODD helps talk about what matters to them.

Don’t get too hung up on this. Over the coming months, you will have lots of time to notice words that are missing. It is quick and easy to add these words as you go. With simPODD, the journey to the specific word is just as important as the word itself.

Customising the set, making it your child's own.

Perhaps your son or daughter loves Spider-Man. Go ahead and add Spider-Man and his friends to the Characters category. But you probably don’t need to add Black Widow, Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield, and Spider-Man’s webs to the “character things” sub-folder. Not just yet. Instead, focus on just the words that matter most.

There are so many ways you can talk about Spider-Man even if all the specific words are not yet in your simPODD. Go back to the home page. Look at the messages on the screen. Notice that you can use simPODD to comment on how much you LIKE (or DON’T LIKE!) Spider-Man. Notice that you can gasp “Something’s Wrong, Hurt!" when while watching the movie together. Notice how you can suggest “Let’s Go, Movies” or “I want, television.” There are many ways you can “journey” to talk about the specific word your son or daughter cares most about. What matters with simPODD is that your child sees all the different ways they can talk about what they love most. You’ve got time to customize the app with more words down the road. For now, just learn all the paths you can take to get there.

Just explore when you first start out.

When we started PODD the first time, I spent so much time perfecting all Maggie’s particular words that it was months before we actually got started. By the time her book was finally ready, I had lost my momentum and the school had chosen a different AAC system.

The second time we started PODD, I chose a simple page set and jumped in. I made myself a paper copy of Maggie’s PODD book. I didn’t even add favorite foods or laminate the paper. I just printed the book on thick paper. As I started to model it, I wrote notes on the pages, reminding myself of words to add later. I was much more successful this time. I could focus on just starting to USE it because I hadn’t drained all my energy making it perfect! I used our first few months with the book to “collect” the words I would need to add over time.

Think of the first few months with simPODD as your chance to collect the specific words you and your child will need over time.

This article is part of a series that chronicles the journey of adding simPODD successfully to your AAC gear. It’s written by Erin, mom to Maggie.

Interested to learn more about simPODD, these articles will help you get started: